Well, I’ve come up short. I tried for an hour, but could not find anything to explain what I noticed at church today. I attended 8:30 mass at All Saints – St Anthony (ASSA) Parish today, about a 22 minute walk away. I don’t know how long I can keep up going to a different church every week, they’re getting farther and farther away. I suppose I could ride my bike or take public transit, if it comes to it. [There’s another thunderstorm in town, almost a daily occurrence in this hot weather. The lights blinked a minute ago. We’ll see what happens. I feel bad for the other AirBNB guests (a dad and his 15yo son) here today – they are going to the outdoor Cold Play concert that starts in 7 minutes ]
As I walked up to ASSA, it looked like a pretty normal Catholic Church of its era, about 1915. I remarked the colorful mosaic over the front doors – it was clear that color would play an important part inside.
(I apologize for not including more pictures – the website they’re on doesn’t let you link directly to the images.)
I was right, colorful stained glass windows, marble pillars, a beautiful mural on the dome, a huge organ in the back of the church (you can see photos here). As I sat down though, I got the sense of something incongruous, but I couldn’t immediately place my finger on it. Then it hit me – no altar. A church like this should have some sort of very ornate altar, but instead, I was looking at the bare curved wall of the apse with a crucifix on it. There was a three step platform with a Louis XVI chair (OMG, the research I do for you people) the priest sat on, a plain marble altar table, a tiny tabernacle on a pedestal, and that’s about it.
“Well,” I though, “I’ve GOT to look into this.” So I did. And it seems like POOF it was gone. There is no mention of it in the (lengthy) church history. There is one photo of the ornate altar in 1957, and another in 1946 if you look around, but nothing else, as far as I can tell. Here is a pretty good shot of what it looks like now.
All of this research has taken kind of a long time, so the rest is more of a summary. Ellie took me up to the Maxwell Street Market, which is like a large flea market with lots of Latino and Cuban food. I got some Crayola colored pencils for my classroom – a bargain at $5 for 50 pencils. I bought two. Somehow those things disappear at a slow but steady rate from my room. It was really too hot to eat – the heat index was over 100, so I ate a cup of elotes and a watermelon Italian ice, but that’s all.
We headed back home, but got distracted by “Hey, I wonder what happens if I turn here?” at 21st street. I ended up on Canalport street, and then on Cermak. [OK, you find out so much when you go down the rabbit hole of the interwebs. Cermak is a big name around here – there is a produce chain by that name, but the road is named after Anton Cermak, who was assassinated while he was greeted FDR in Miami in 1933 (FDR was the putative target, but a woman hit the assassin’s arm with her purse at the critical moment). At the time, Cermak was mayor of Chicago, having won partly because a rival made a slur about his name, to which he responded, “He doesn’t like my name… it’s true I didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but I came over as soon as I could.” Ethnic Chicagoans related.]
The thing that is interesting about Cermak Road now is that it is (or was in 2012) the “greenest street in America”, which is ironic because it is in the middle of quite the industrial zone. Take a look for yourself. It is though, quite possibly the most sustainable street. It has signs along it describing bioswales (which are basically areas to catch rainwater and use it rather than dumping it into the storm/sewer system), permeable pavement, and many of the other features.
Ellie was having a bit of a cranky morning when we started out. Due to the combination of my sunscreen-laden palms and her sticky gearshift, we couldn’t get out of the high gears. This is mainly a problem when you have to accelerate at an intersection, not that we have any of those in Chitown. I actually detoured a bit because I was worried about accelerating fast enough to make a left turn – I went straight and then looped around to the right to get left. Later in the ride, after the market, we were doing better – most of the sunscreen had wiped off on a napkin, but things still weren’t right; we had more gears, but not the bottom three (which I don’t use too often anyway). I was a little worried that I would snap the shift cable because I had to apply so much force. I resolved to fix it when we got home.
On the way home, I realized that her left pedal was no longer grinching everytime I put any kind of strain on it. It would stick and sometimes get stuck in a vertical position (if you consider horizontal normal for a pedal), and my foot would suddenly slip off. Also not good for acceleration. I bought a bottle of PTFE (aka Teflon) lubricant and squirted a whole bunch in about a week ago. It took a ride or three, but the grinding sound is gone, and my foot stays on the pedal.
At home, I squirted a ton of the stuff into all the moving joints in the derailleur. It worked like magic. I took a short ride, and all the gears were back, so I put Ellie back in the garage. Until a week ago, she lived on our second story porch because I didn’t have a key to the garage. She liked the view from there – she could watch what was happening down the street, but she was exposed to the elements – not a good thing for a bike. I was worried that she wouldn’t like the garage – nothing to see, but I knew it would be better for her. Then today I looked around in there and saw that there are two other bikes (Ethel and Tessie) from the same shop. I am sure the three of them talk all day about their adventures. I’m so glad she is happy.